Broad community support needed to find funding for a “youth hub”

Jewelles Smith, manager of the Child & Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) Project, is seeking letters of support to support a request for funding to create a centre for vulnerable young people.

The only rub is that she says her project team “would really like to have letters of support by Monday, January 25th, but can work with community members who need longer.” The entire application to the BC Youth Integrated Services Initiative is due on January 29. While there may be scores of initial applications for funding, only five communities will ultimately be selected. Please click here to find out more about the BYISI.

“There will be one successful applicant in each health region,” Smith told The Current on Wednesday, January 20. “The five applicants will receive a one-time grant of up to approximately $600,000 for capital, to support renovations or to build centres. The selected sites will also receive up to approximately $500,000 annually for three years to support operations at the Integrated Youth Service Centres; this amount will be determined through the convening process.

“This is an amazing opportunity for us as a community to build a youth hub; this would provide a space for primary care, mental health services, substance use services, social services, and recreational space for our youth,” she said in an e-mail plea for help that was shotgunned across the web on Wednesday. “I am attaching a sample letter with the main points to address. As a community, we need to show our support for this initiative and I believe we have a strong chance to make it to the five selected communities in BC.”

Smith said Community Connections has agreed to be the lead organization for this application; “however, it is very much a community application… It is critical that we demonstrate our commitment as a community to this endeavour. If we are one of the 5 communities in BC to be approved to Phase II (Phase I is sending in a formal Expression of Interest accompanied by letters of support), we will then engage in specific visioning and planning discussions.”

Jewelles discussed this “youth hub” project in some depth with the School District 19 Trustees during their meeting  last week. You can watch her make her presentation by clicking on the YouTube player below. Her presentation, preceded by an introduction from Social Development Coordinator Jill Zacharias. Begins at about the two-minute mark on the recording:

Jewelles Smith is a local woman pursuing her PhD at UBC-Okanagan and is vice-chairwoman at the National Educational Association of Disabled Students. She is also a painter. You can learn more about her on her website.